Rev. Samuel Rodriguez has denounced critics who are calling on him and other Christian leaders to resign from President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board.
Following the Aug. 12 protest in Charlottesville, critics have called on members of the evangelical advisory board to abandon the president because of his response to the violent incident that occurred during the rally.
Critics were particularly angered over Trump’s failure to quickly denounce white supremacists as well as his remarks claiming there were “very fine people” on both sides, and that both sides were to blame for the violence.
Rodriguez, who was one of six Christian leaders who spoke at Trump’s inauguration, acknowledged that the president was wrong not to immediately call out the white supremacists, but he maintained that his involvement on the advisory board was his “God-given assignment.”
The Hispanic evangelical leader argued that those calling for his resignation from the board are largely inconsistent.
“Where was that argument ‘why don’t you abandon,’ why don’t evangelical advisors abandon Obama when he affirmed and celebrated and advanced the cause of same-sex marriage? Where was the uproar when Obama expanded/funded Planned Parenthood, funded international abortions?” he said.
Rodriguez, who serves as the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, had also served as an advisor in various capacities to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
He contended that the board gives “very straight talk” to the president and that it is “committed to the centrality of Jesus and biblical truth.”
Compared to the advisory board during the previous administrations, the current board is informal with no recognized leader or structure. The boards from the past two administrations had more formal structures which included leaders from a variety of faiths, whereas the current board is thoroughly evangelical and largely conservative, according to CBN News.
Rodriguez raised the question whether critics have thought of the consequences if members of the evangelical advisory board were to abandon Trump.
“What if President Trump would not have a faith advisory board and no one speaking truth and love and mercy and grace and reconciliation to him?” he asked. “My point is, people should be thanking God every single day for the faith advisory board,” he added.
Despite being a member of the advisory board, Rodriguez has not been afraid of speaking out against the Trump administration’s actions when it comes to deporting and detaining immigrants.
Last month, Rodriguez condemned the arrest of a Guatemalan-born Assemblies of God pastor in California and criticized the administration’s decision to rescind a policy protecting undocumented parents of natural-born American citizens or legal permanent residents from deportation.